Caring for Community: Education and Equity Partnerships in Our Own Backyard
At Zoom, our core value of care guides everything we do — and it’s especially important when we think about our role in our own community. We believe strongly in showing care for all and doing our part to help build a more equitable world.
We launched our philanthropic entity, Zoom Cares, to turn our value of care into an actionable force for change. We have intentionally leveraged our voice, dollars, platform, and our passionate employees to lift up our partners’ efforts to combat injustice, close educational gaps, and support those most in need. With the acute challenges of the past year, the work of our partner organizations has become even more critical and we’ve doubled down on the urgency to support them.
Our new Head of Social Impact, Roxana Shirkhoda, will help guide our philanthropic efforts and bring even greater impact to the work we’re supporting in our local and global communities. We’re excited to share more about her and some of the new partners we’re working with.
Supporting social equity & education
We’re proud to have provided support and grant funding to organizations that stand for racial, social, and educational equity, like the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Californians Dedicated To Education, and The Trans Justice Funding Project. We also donated our platform to help keep communities connected and maintain critical communication during the pandemic.
Kicking off the new year with an emphasis on education and equity in our own backyard, we are excited to share two new partnerships: The Tech Challenge and Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus.
Education as a catalyst for innovation
We’re honored that our virtual platform will be able to support student innovation and spark a passion for learning and creativity through The Tech Challenge, hosted by The Tech Interactive, a family-friendly science and technology center in the heart of downtown San Jose, California — home to Zoom’s headquarters. After more than three decades of delivering engineering programming to thousands of young innovators, The Tech Interactive team creatively pivoted to an entirely virtual format. This year’s 2021 Tech Challenge project, Ultimate Upcycle, is designed to meet the challenges of living and working during a pandemic with a focus on sustainability.
Our partnership with The Tech Challenge is part of our multifaceted approach to supporting education, which ranges from improving literacy to providing in-demand job skills training to increasing digital access. All these factors have impacts on students’ ability to succeed outside the classroom and go hand in hand with promoting equity, another pillar of Zoom Cares.
Advancing equity in communities of color
Like education, our focus on equity is wide reaching, with an emphasis on supporting communities that experience racial or social injustice and addressing the systems that perpetuate inequality.
In the wake of ongoing and recent violent attacks against members of the Asian community, we’ve provided grant funding to Asian Americans Advancing Justice–Asian Law Caucus (AAAJ-ALC), the nation’s first legal and civil rights organization serving low-income Asian Pacific American communities, which is providing culturally and linguistically sensitive legal services for survivors, victims, and their families in the San Francisco Bay Area. We celebrate AAAJ-ALC’s vision for “a democratic society where race, class, and immigration status are not barriers to full and equal participation in American life.”
Guiding our efforts: Our new Head of Social Impact
With these and more partnerships coming in 2021, we’re thrilled to welcome Roxana Shirkhoda as Zoom’s first Head of Social Impact, leading our Zoom Cares program.
Prior to joining Zoom, Shirkhoda oversaw philanthropy initiatives at Tides, NPX, and Full Circle Fund. She also led Google’s multimillion-dollar effort to support computer science education nonprofits in more than 20 countries.
“Zoom’s culture is undeniably rooted in genuine care: care for employees, care for customers, and care for our communities,” Shirkhoda said. “Centering voices of those most impacted, sharing decision-making power, being inclusive and transparent around problem solving — these are a few philanthropic strategies I am excited to leverage at Zoom.”
Stay tuned for additional Zoom Cares updates, including the announcement of our EdInnovation Awards partners in March! For more information on Zoom Cares and our philanthropic efforts, visit zoom.us/zoomcares.